Many federal workers may be furloughed during the U.S. government's political stalemate, but it appears that someone took the time to make life just a little more difficult for Missoula area dog owners.Katherine, a local resident who frequently walks the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, discovered on Monday, October 7, that some of the usual facilities were missing.

"I was just picking up my dog's 'gifts,' to deposit them in the garbage can and there is no garbage can here... it was taken out," Katherine said. "There's no mitts available either. The thing that holds the mitts was empty. I was just wondering if this is related to the shutdown because this is a national recreation area."

A call to the Missoula Ranger District yielded the following automated phone call message:

"...Due to a lapse in appropriations, the Forest Service has suspended normal business operations. During this lapse in funding, this office will be closed. If you leave a message we will return your call when normal government operations resume..."

The Rattlesnake National Recreation Area is federally managed, but it is still unclear what agency removed the trashcans and animal waste mitts.

Members of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks had no knowledge that the cans had been removed. FWP representatives speculated that the cans may have been taken, either because of the federal shutdown, or because of complaints from the community about excess garbage.